Friday, 24 February 2012

20 quick questions

Having been thinking quite a bit about house rules lately, I thought I'd answer Untimately's 20 Quick Questions as well...

  1. Ability scores generation method? 3d6 in order. I allow a single swap of class prime requisites (for example a character with STR 14 and INT 8 could have those two attributes swapped and become a magic-user). That means that CHA, CON and WIS (there's no clerics in my campaign) cannot be changed -- you get what you roll.
  2. How are death and dying handled? 0hp = dead. I do allow the use of a substance called "tonic" which, if used within a couple of rounds of a character reaching 0 or -1hp, can revive them. It costs 50gp a pop.
  3. What about raising the dead? Courtesy of your friendly local Temple of Orcus.
  4. How are replacement PCs handled? We've been starting new PCs recently at 5,000XP, which is a bit below what most PCs in the party have (they're mostly at the high end of 3rd level now, approaching 4th).
  5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else? Group, 1d6. We actually just switched from a freestyle combat procedure to the by-the-book Labyrinth Lord procedure, and we're all very much enjoying rolling those 1d6s!
  6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work? Natural 20 = auto-hit, natural 1 = auto-miss. As DM I always add a bit of flavour as well... dropping or breaking weapons, hitting allies, pinning or stunning opponents, that sort of thing. I don't use any tables for it, just go with whatever comes to mind in the moment.
  7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet? +1 AC. Unconventional, I know, but I thought it gives a good simple reason to buy and wear one!
  8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly? Oh yes. PCs have famously been killed by this.
  9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything? Running can definitely be wise at times. Not that the players in my games do it very often (or ever, if I come to think of it!).
  10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no? Yes, I like to keep undead scary. Only one character has got level drained in the campaign so far, and he didn't like it very much, haha.
  11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death? Yes. Some poisons for sure.
  12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked? Semi-strictly, I'd say. Sometimes I make a point of keeping track of torches burning out and so on, at other time (normally when there's more action) not. I'm a bit more of a stickler for encumbrance. I always at least roughly want to know someone's movement rate -- I'm not gonna let some plate-clad fighter run around as fast as an unencumbered magic-user!
  13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time? No training (I see adventuring as training in itself). Magic-users don't gain new spells -- they have to find or buy them. No level gains in the middle of an adventure.
  14. What do I get experience for? Classic: defeating monsters (small amount) and gaining loot (large amount).
  15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination? Either really. I prefer the former, but most of the players seem happier just to make a die roll. I draw the line at allowing a trap to be disarmed by a simple die roll -- descriptions will be required then. I'm not a huge placer of traps anyway.
  16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work? Neither encouraged nor discouraged. No player has ever tried to hire a retainer.
  17. How do I identify magic items? With difficulty. The standard identify spell is available for a price at the wizards' guild -- though the results are pretty unreliable, and it's quite expensive. I have wondered about either house ruling the spell to make it more reliable or perhaps making up some other means of finding out about magic items, as I think it's pretty frustrating for players to find something they know is magical but not have a clue what it does.
  18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? Yes. Potions and scrolls are available for sale in the big city (where the campaign is set). Magical weapons and armour (only the basic +1 variety) are also available, but at fairly steep prices. Other items might occasionally be found for sale, but not as a matter of course.
  19. Can I create magic items? When and how? Definitely. Get to 9th level first, then we'll talk about it. Oh actually I do have the (Holmes-inspired) house rule that magic-users can make scrolls from 1st level, costing 150gp + one week of time per spell level. It's hardly been used, which I find interesting.
  20. What about splitting the party? Hm... I guess so. It's rarely been an issue. I wouldn't do anything to prevent it happening, but would certainly encourage the group to get together again before too long.

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